The Man Who Invented Seat Belts (and told Lindy what plane to fly)


Jerome "Jerry" Lederer lived to 101 years-of-age.  He is credited with creating the first seat belts for airline pilots, told Lindberg which of the two Spirit of St. Louis planes he should use for his historic flight,
introducing blinking anticollision lights and flight data recorders to aircraft. He also participated in the group that organized the Federal Aviation Administration and modernized the air traffic control system.

In a remarkable life that spanned the entire history of powered flight, Lederer,  did nothing less than make air travel safer for millions of passengers and contributed greatly to the success of NASA's lunar landing missions. 

In the course of his 46 year public service career Jerome Lederer performed groundbreaking safety studies for the Air Mail Service, the Civil Aeronautics Board's Safety Bureau and the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. 

In 1967, following the tragic Apollo 1 fire, NASA Administrator James Webb asked Mr. Lederer to become director of our Office of Manned Space Flight Safety. He worked successfully to upgrade NASA-wide safety policies and to implement safety awareness programs throughout the Agency. 

In a 1967 interview with the New York Times he said, "The principles are the same in aviation and space safety. You always have to fight complacency–you need formal programs to ensure that safety is always kept in mind."

From 1970 until his retirement in 1972, he served as safety director for all NASA activities. In 1969, Mr. Lederer received NASA's Exceptional Service Medal.

Someone should make a movie or mini-series about this guy's life, adventures, and accomplishments — the story is incredible!

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